TEL AVIV – With U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visiting Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on Wednesday that the Jewish state will complete construction of the country’s security barrier in Jerusalem and the southern West Bank.
During security consultations held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister’s Office said it was immediately decided to close gaps in the separation barrier in the Jerusalem area, and to complete construction of the barrier in the Tarkumiya area in the South Hebron Hills.
Gaps in the separation barrier are used by Palestinians to enter Israel illegally without the proper permits. The assailant behind the Jaffa attack entered Israel illegally from a West Bank village near Qalqilya. In recent months, opposition chair MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) called on Netanyahu to close the gaps and complete construction of the barrier.
Netanyahu’s decision comes in the wake of a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks here in the past 24 hours.
On Tuesday, an American tourist was killed and at least ten others wounded, four seriously, in terrorist stabbing attacks perpetrated by the same individual at two locations in Jaffa, the port city located just south of Tel Aviv.
The attacks took place while Biden was in Jaffa speaking at the Peres Center for Peace, Breitbart Jerusalem reported.
The Jaffa stabbing was just one of three attacks that took place within about two hours of each other. One Israeli was moderately wounded in a terrorist attack in Petah Tikva, located about nine miles south of Tel Aviv. Before that, two Israelis were wounded in a shooting attack near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to the Old City and the scene of scores of attacks and attempted attacks in recent months.
On Wednesday, two terrorists from Kafr Aqab in eastern Jerusalem carried out a combined vehicular and stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City. A Palestinian civilian was seriously wounded in the attack.
Last month, Netanyahu said he is working to surround the entire country with fences and barriers “to defend ourselves against wild beasts” that surround the Jewish state.
Netanyahu made the comments during a tour of a barrier being erected on the country’s eastern border with Jordan.
“We are preparing a multi-year project to encircle Israel with a security fence to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be,” Netanyahu stated.
“In the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” said Netanyahu. “I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”
He said the plan would take several years to complete and that besides the fence around the country his government will work to close breaches in the security barrier that straddles the West Bank.
“This thing costs many billions, and we’re working on a multi-year plan of prioritization so it will be spread out over years in order to gradually … complete it to defend the State of Israel,” Netanyahu added.
Israel began construction of the security barrier in 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, a terrorist war of shootings and suicide bombings that targeted Israeli civilians. It was launched after PLO leader Yasser Arafat rejected an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state during U.S.-mediated negotiations in the summer of 2000.
Upon the completion of a significant continuous section of the security fence in 2003, Israel saw a marked decrease in the number of suicide bombers able to penetrate Israeli cities.
About 95% of the barrier consists of a chain-link fence backed up by high-tech surveillance systems and not the concrete barrier routinely shown by the news media.
The concrete barriers are usually only located in areas where the wall intersects with Israeli communities and roads, including areas of previous Palestinian shooting attacks.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.